Suez Canal blocked, finally reopens


Abdulkarim Sarmini/flickr

The Ever Given ship was taken by Egyptian authorities, and will stay with them until the ship’s owner agrees to paying for compensation.

Chloe Wolf, Asst. Editorial Editor

On March 23, the Suez Canal in Egypt was blocked by the Ever Given container ship. The ship was carrying around 20,000 shipping containers at the time. While making its way through the canal, it is believed that strong winds from a sandstorm pushed the ship sideways, wedging it in between the canal walls and causing the ship to ultimately block the entire canal. After many days of digging and using tugboats to push and pull the ship, the Suez Canal was open once again on March 29.

A financial settlement is being discussed between the Suez Canal chief and the owners of the Ever Given for costing them large amounts of money and blocking an important trade route for almost a week. The chief is looking for around $1 billion in compensation. 

“We are discussing with them a peaceful resolution to the matter without resorting to the judiciary,” Lieutenant General Osama Rabie said while speaking with the Associated Press.

While the true cause of the ship turning sideways is unknown, there are multiple assumptions being made. Some people speculate that winds turned the ship, while others believe it may have been a mechanical error. Others are blaming a specific captain for the blockage. Captain Marwa Elselehdar, Egypt’s first female captain, was blamed for the incident even though she was miles away in Alexandria, Egypt at the time.

“I felt that I might be targeted maybe because I’m a successful female in this field or because I’m Egyptian, but I’m not sure,” Elselehdar said in an interview.

These rumors started when a screenshot of a fake news headline was spread. The headline claimed she was involved in the incident. Investigations are currently being held to determine the real cause of the incident.

“People in our society still don’t accept the idea of girls working in the sea away from their families for a long time. But when you do what you love, it is not necessary for you to seek the approval of everyone,” Elselehdar said.

Due to the blockage only lasting six days, the delay in imports will not be extreme. Delays in exports will slightly affect the Eastern side of the United States. Mostly imports from Europe will experience a disruption, and oil prices will rise slightly. The United States is one of the least affected countries. Meanwhile countries in Europe like Spain, Italy and France will experience a rise in gas prices.

Thanks to the quick and hard work of the Suez Canal workers, there will not be any devastating effects to the countries who use the canal, but the global economy suffered the most. The economy is expected to return to normal eventually, along with the trade route and overall shipping.